Review begins for Shell’s proposed oil-by-rail project

ANACORTES — Washington state and Skagit County officials are beginning an environmental review of a proposed oil-by-rail project at the Shell Puget Sound Refinery near Anacortes.

Royal Dutch Shell wants to build a rail spur from existing railroad tracks to handle about 60,000 barrels of crude oil a day, or a maximum of six trains a week. Trains would bring crude oil from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to replace some of the supply Shell currently gets from Alaska’s North Slope.

A hearing is scheduled in Mount Vernon Tuesday as the state and Skagit County begin the first step of a lengthy review. Hearings are planned in Anacortes and Lynnwood.

County officials concluded in 2013 that there weren’t significant impacts from the project. But groups appealed and a county hearing examiner in February ruled a full review was needed.

Shell appealed that examiner’s decision but a Skagit County Superior Court judge dismissed Shell’s lawsuit in May.

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